Best ideas on how to dress modestly for the office

Photo: A modest workwear by Kentore, UK

Former investment banker Ayah Meki received a stellar education at King’s College and the London School of Economics, and she soon went on to achieve her goal of becoming a city financier. But when it came to the office, she soon found it difficult to locate the right modest-wear.

The 26-year-old told My Salaam, “It’s surprisingly difficult to find the right combination of workwear and modesty in the UK. The majority of modest clothes are casualwear, occasion wear or traditional wear, such as abayas.”

“The workwear provided by conventional high-street or designer brands rarely meets the clothing requirements of the modest woman, particularly those in professions such as law, finance or teaching, where they are required to dress more formally.”

UK_Ayah Meki_Founder of Kentore_modest workwear
Photo: Ayah Meki, founder of modest workwear brand, Kentore, UK

Ayah decided to launch her own business to meet this gap in the UK market. The British Muslim has just launched Kentore, the country’s first online firm specialising in modest officewear, because “there is a huge sector of the market that is underserved in this respect.”

“A lot of the time, it’s only very subtle adjustments that make a huge difference to the modest woman. However, the majority of these requirements are often overlooked by mainstream brands. This is precisely what we have focused on in our collection: the finer details which transform an item in the eyes of modest professionals.”

UK modest workwear fashion brand Kentore

Photo: A modest workwear by Kentore, UK


  • High necklines: Ayah says it’s important for professionals wearing the hijab to ensure that their neck is covered. The right modest workwear allows for various hijab styles (pulled back, turban and side-wrap) to be worn freely and comfortably without worrying about neck exposure.
  • Non-sheer materials: Many workwear items, particularly those that are white or light in colour, are sheer and require the modest woman to layer up. This can be very cumbersome in the heat and also much less fashionable from a styling perspective. All modest items should be either opaque or fully lined using lightweight, breathable textiles.
  • Rollable sleeves: Fastenings or loose fits that allow for sleeves to be rolled up to the elbows are hugely useful for ablution; many modest professionals would otherwise have to take the entire top and jacket off in order to perform their prayers during work hours.
  • Loosely structured fit and a modest drape: There should be no figure-hugging or short items (both in terms of length of tops and sleeves, and leg length).
  • High practicality: Are the clothes suitable for a formal office environment? Practicality factors include considerations such as high-quality fabrics, clean tailoring, appropriate colour pallets and designs, and current trends.
  • Chic factor: Ayah says that this is particularly true for young professionals. It is imperative that the clothes strike the perfect balance between modest and fashionable. While modest professional women want their clothing to represent their values, they do not want to feel like they are different from their colleagues. They don’t want to draw attention to their clothing for the wrong reasons. Kentore refers to this style as “understated chic” and has carried it through the entire collection.

UK modest workwear fashion brand Kentore

Photo: A modest workwear by Kentore, UK

Some of the current modest workwear trends include tailored co-ords with clean architectural lines, oversized and longline blazers, crisp white and striped shirts, ruffle shirts, silk longline blouses, and mum shoes with a mid-block heel.

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